Season 2 Episode 06: Kathy Brew - Unfurling Like A Spiral

"Certainly I have felt many times that I’m hovering over an abyss. But you have to make that leap over to get to the other side."

Kathy Brew, 64, is a self-defined, label-defying “hybrid:” a documentary filmmaker, public television producer, curator, teacher, and artful dreamer. After college, she stumbled on her first job making educational filmstrips  –remember those dreaded “hygiene” films in seventh grade?  Then in the early 80s, she left New York for California with her first husband and began her work in media and the arts in San Francisco. When she got an unsolicited grant of $5,000 she made her first award-winning film, “Mixed Messages,” about girls and proscribed gender roles, the first of many of her arts and social issue documentaries. “Design Is One,” about the renowned designers Lella and Massimo Vignelli, is one of the more recent that Kathy made back in NYC with the “love of her life,” documentary filmmaker Roberto Guerra .  Kathy envisioned  finding a partner who would be her “best friend, lover and collaborator.” And she found that in her 17-year relationship with Roberto. Still in the deep sorrow of losing Roberto in 2014, Kathy also dreams and feeds her undaunted creative spirit. She’ll soon be traveling to Peru as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching and making art, and continuing to unfurl her “out-of-the-box,” full and free life.

To learn more about (and donate to) the Roberto Guerra Documentary Award that Kathy established in honor of her partner, check out

Learn more about Design is One at

In 2012, Kathy had an exhibit called “Going Gray” about how we make choices to dye or not as a commentary on how women age in America: She hopes to expand the work into a documentary.